Lunch with Morrissey

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Thursday 17th October 2013

ImageSo Morrissey is back in the headlines again – this time because his autobiography, the suitably titled Autobiography, was published at midnight.

Scores of hacks clearly spent all night pouring over its 457 pages, including the BBC’s entertainment correspondent Colin Paterson, who rushed into the Today studio at dawn to discuss its contents.

Just like its author, Morrissey’s book has its own inimitable style.

It has no chapters and no index and begins with the singer’s early years in “post-war industrial Manchester, where the 1960s will not swing, and where the locals are the opposite of worldly.”

I’ve seen some excerpts but I can’t wait to read the whole thing, because if the opening pages are anything to go by it’s beautifully written. I could just hear Morrissey’s lugubrious, deadpan voice in my head as I read.

I met Morrissey in the 1980s and my abiding memory is of his vivid turn of phrase.

Unlikely as it may sound, the features editor of Woman’s Own, who usually preferred to commission pieces on Hollywood film stars, had asked me to interview the Smiths frontman over lunch. So I booked a table at J Sheekey in Covent Garden and wondered if he’d turn up on the day. Well actually he did, and despite my fears that he would be dour and tricky, he was charm itself.

My favourite bits of the interview were when he told me how his mum always believed in him (even when he decided he wasn’t cut out for work) and that as a child growing up on a Manchester council estate he far preferred staying in listening to Billy Fury records than going out to play with the other kids. And, as I’ve written before, even at a young age he refused point-blank to settle for mediocrity.

“It sounds quite dramatic but I would never be content to straggle midstream,” he told me. “I always felt that if I couldn’t have what I wanted, I would rather have absolutely nothing at all. Perhaps that’s why I always thought that I would be impossibly successful or incredibly inconsequential.”

Autobiography by Morrissey (Penguin Classics, £8.99)

3 comments so far

  • Such a strange man (in a fascinating, rather than lint-sniffing way).

    Be brilliant to read your piece from the 80’s – is it lurking on the web?

  • Do you still have your notes? I bet even they would be ace to read – I love reading Jilly Cooper’s old articles, especially the un-edited ones. Woman’s Own itself must still have a copy – be brilliant if you did a collection type thing.
    Ha! As if you didn’t have enough to do…

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